Sheep wool is a natural fiber and it has a complex physio-chemical structure, which cannot be artificially manufactured. It has a natural crimp which gives it bounce, body, and soft support characteristics. Due to these specifics, it has many benefits:
- Environmentally sustainable and renewable
Wool is hard to challenge for its sustainability (sheep are not intensively reared). It is a renewable material as once cut it grows back naturally. At the end of its life, wool is biodegradable in soil, releasing important nutrients. However, if you invest in a handmade wool blanket or mattress, you will never throw it away and it will last for generations if you take proper care for it.
Dust mites thrive in the warm, moist environment where you sleep each night. Whether you have a down pillow or comforter, or bedding made of synthetic materials, dust mites are the major cause of allergy and asthma suffering. Since wool is hypoallergenic and naturally resistant to dust mites, wool bedding makes a wonderful alternative to feathers and synthetics.
Wool is naturally flame retardant without any added chemicals that are commonly used in other bedding materials. That’s why firefighters wear wool uniforms and natural bedding manufacturers use wool in their products to meet fire codes.
You can wear wool from the coldest temperatures up to 80+ degrees and be comfortable. Wool keeps cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Wool is an all-weather shield!
Wool fiber has a water-repellent outer layer that surrounds each hollow fiber, overlapping like shingles on a roof. While fiber’s core absorbs up to one-third of its weight in moisture vapor without becoming damp, the hard outer layer protects against outside liquid moisture. This results in water being repelled, but humidity absorbed, and that helps with thermal regulation. Wool keeps outside moisture away from the skin and also wicks away perspiration, thus keeping the body warm and dry. This is why wool bedding is perfect for hot sleepers.
Wool is an excellent insulator and has one of the highest insulation to weight ratios of any natural or man-made fiber. Insulating air spaces forms in wool that is worn next to skin and they help to retain body heat.
Wool fibers have a natural water-wicking property that prevents moisture from being retained in the fabric. Besides keeping the skin dry, this quality also naturally inhibits mildew. Wool also has natural anti-microbial properties because bacteria tend to be attracted to smooth positively charged surfaces like those of synthetic fibres rather than the scaly, neutrally charged surface of the wool fibre. Hospital studies have shown that bacterial colonies are common in cotton sheets while not present on Merino blankets subjected to the same environmental conditions.
Most synthetic fibers actually increase body odor because they create a breeding ground for bacteria. Wool’s unique structure means that it won’t allow the build-up of body odors so you can keep wearing those same socks for days on end.
Its durability and strength come from the fact that the fibres can be bent back on themselves 20,000 times before breaking (to put this into context cotton breaks after 3,200 bends and rayon fibres only last 75 times!)